Festival in Cloverdale gets Surrey all abuzz about bees

Honeybee Festival educates public about honeybees and pollination while giving residents an opportunity to tour Cloverdale facility.

Honeybee Centre’s Rommelyn Doria stays calm during the Bee Beard Showcase. The queen bee (around her neck enclosed in a necklace) excretes a scent that lures other bees.

By Katrina Pedersen/For the Now

SURREY — Cloverdale was buzzing last weekend during the annual Honeybee Festival at the Honeybee Centre.

The Honeybee Centre has been hosting the event since it opened in 2000.

Leanne Buhler, general manager of the Honeybee Centre, said the festival not only educates the public about honeybees and pollination, it also gives the public the opportunity to tour the facility.

“The festival is really great because we open our doors and give people the opportunity to stop in when they normally wouldn’t,” said Buhler.

The facility is a honeybee farm that raises honeybees for the purpose of commercial pollination. Although various honey products are available for purchase at the centre, its main purpose is to bring colonies of bees to different fields around the Lower Mainland to pollinate for local growers.

This exchange helps growers get bigger and more quantity of fruit and, “benefits the Honeybee Centre because we get specialty honey such as blueberry, raspberry, and cranberry,” said Buhler.

There are 1,500 colonies at the Honeybee Centre and 900 colonies from local beekeepers that the centre works with, which produces approximately 250,000 pounds of honey a year. Each colony can have up to 100,000 honey bees.

To help protect honeybees, the Honeybee Centre created the Community Bee Garden Project. The goal of the project is to build 10 community bee gardens every year until they establish 100 pollinating honey bee colonies around Surrey. The honey collected through this project will be bottled and donated or sold with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the Surrey Food Bank.

“Honeybees and other pollinators pollinate about one third of our food supply so they are very critical to our existence,” said Buhler.

Honeybees are also responsible for florage of flowers and plants and the public can help create a friendlier environment for the honey bee by planting flowers in yards.

“Not only does it provide food for the honey bee, but it gives them the ability to move from one space to the other by landing on flowers, drinking, and then moving on,” said Buhler.

Another way the public can help in the prevention of honeybees going extinct is to make bee friendly choices in regards to food, Buhler added.

“Organically grown produce do not have the same pesticides or chemical use, which affects the bees when they are pollinating.”

For more information, visit honeybeecentre.com.

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